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Loans to repair El Niño damage

The IDB in August approved $335 million in loans to help Argentina and Paraguay recover from the destruction caused by torrential rains and flooding triggered by El Niño.
This recurring phenomenon, scientifically known as El Niño/Southern Oscillation, consists of a series of disruptions of normal oceanic and atmospheric conditions in the Pacific. These episodes radically influence wind and rain patterns around the globe.

The ravages caused by the 1997-1998 recurrence of El Niño are judged to be the worst in memory. In Argentina the flooding forced 100,000 people to flee their homes and caused losses of more than $1 billion in farm output and $750 million in infrastructure damage.

In neighboring Paraguay, the severe weather killed 49 people and some 100,000 others either lost their homes or their belongings to the floods. The country's government estimates that it will have to spend at least $40 million to repair destroyed and damaged roads, bridges and embankments.

The Bank, which last year had extended loans totaling $255 million to assist Peru's and Ecuador's reconstruction efforts after they were hit by El Niño-related droughts and floods, seeks to cushion the economic and social impact of this year's natural disasters in Argentina and Paraguay.

A $300 million loan will support Argentina's efforts to repair and rehabilitate public transportation, housing, and infrastructure in six provinces affected by the flooding: Misiones, Corrientes, Chaco, Entre Ríos, Formosa, and Santa Fe.

Funds will also be used for environmental protection, drainage systems in urban and rural areas, and to cover temporary resettlement costs.

Paraguay received a $35 million loan to help it rebuild feeder and local roads, drainage and flood protection works, and repair bridges, public buildings and outfit shelters.

Both programs have components to help the Argentine and Paraguayan governments develop better preventive and protective systems, focusing on dredging and drainage, watersheds, early flood warning, personnel training, and beefing up their emergency response agencies.


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